In August 2000 we received a call from a young lady in N.J. She found a little kitten wandering outside- starved half to death. She took it to a local vet, even though she was not allowed to have pets in her apartment. The little kitten, now named Possum, stayed with the vet for four days to treat dehydration brought on by constant diarrhea. She was tested, syringe fed and medicated. The young woman could not take her to her apartment, she called her mother in Phillipsburg, N.J. and Possum moved there. It was then that we received a frantic phone call. The kitten was mobile, but the diarrhea still poured out of her. Now in August of 2000 we had purchased the property at Germansville, but only had the house to shelter cats. Not a lot of space to work with! I asked Dick to meet the mother after work on Friday and bring her up here. Little did I know what I was getting!!!! I had set up a small cage on the high boy on my bedroom for her. Dick brought her up and I almost cried. She was skin and bones. When I picked her up out of the carrier, diarrhea poured out of her. It took almost 24 hours for her to figure out that the formula I mixed for her was OK to eat-and eat she did! Within 3 days we were over the diarrhea phase and began to put on some weight. It was at that point that we realized that Possum wasn’t “quite right” she seemed somewhat neurologically impaired. All that more to love!!! Possum got along great with the house cats. She walked with a swagger with her head a little offset, and the big cats took care of her. Shortly after Possum came, we got four kittens in –picture of health. When they were weaned from their mother they started going down. Our vet Dr. Michael Obinski diagnosed them with distemper and only one survived – a long haired orange and white female named Juliette. She was apparently Possums age at that point in time and they were a match made in Heaven!! Possum walked with a swagger and her head moved left to right as to say no-no-no. Juliette had a stilted walk and her head bobbed up and down as if to say yes-yes-yes! The two of them were hysterical to watch. They managed to get up and down the stairs, hit the tile floor and slide into the cabinet. This didn’t deter them. They had a blast together! And then the day came that Juliette was adopted with another one of our “normal” cats. Possum was depressed for a few days, but the bonded with Tyler and Timmy, our house cats. She loved attention, but loved food even more. If I had sat at the coffee table to eat, she would sneak her paw up and grab my food. It didn’t matter if it was meat, potatoes, salad or vegetables. She picked the prize up in her mouth and ran off and ate it.
As Possum got older we noticed that she became more and more confused. If she were upstairs she would howl and go in circles to the left. We put a child gate up to keep her on the first floor. Shortly after that it was if she lost her right vision and became confused on the first floor. We used a kitten condo as her “house” and she readily went in there at night as she felt safe. She remembered that there was a litter box in the bathroom, but pooped right next to it. So we cleaned it up-that was our Possum and we loved her.
Possum started to show signs of aging. She had since lost her buddies Tyler and Timmy, and absolutely hated kitten season. Anything that moved quickly was too much for her. She would lie in her “Garfield bed” and hope that the kittens wouldn’t see her. She came down with her first case of upper repertory disease around April this year and our vet, Dr. Prange, came up with a combination of medications to knock it out- the first time she was ever sick and she was now 10 years old!
I noticed Possum declining, but she loved when the volunteers sat on the floor with her. May times Maryann or Karen couldn’t start cleaning because Possum laid next to them with her head on there lap! She started putting herself “to bed at night” without prodding from me.
I have my morning ritual for feeding, kitchen cats first and then the living room, which included Possum. On the morning of June 30, 2010 I fed the kitchen gang and picked up there dishes to feed the others. For some reason I sat the dishes down and walked over to Possum’s house. She had passed away during the night so peacefully.
This story was supposed to be in the last newsletter, but I couldn’t do it-and I am pushing the limit for this newsletter. She was one of a kind. I still miss her so much. When she drank water, half of it hit the wall, and when she ate she looked like she was bobbing for apples. She was so special.
I kept the original forms from the vet from 2000, but I don’t think I ever remember reading the handwritten note from the vet tech. It said “This is an extraordinary sweet kitten that tugs at your heart strings! Please make sure she goes to a truly special, loving home! We all adore her!
I believe that we provided her that loving home for her. There were so many of us who knew how really special she was and miss her so much. Possum you’re back with your buddies Tyler and Timmy now. Save me a space.